What are the key issues of life in rural Ireland?

A nationwide consultation is to be conducted among members of the young farmers’ and rural youth organisation Macra na Feirme to establish what issues young people in rural Ireland are facing and how they can be addressed.

This was announced by the Macra na Feirme Rural Youth Committee, in the wake of a report by the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland (SCSI) which found that rural towns in Ireland are suffering from a long drawn-out decline.

Rural Youth Committee chairperson Ger Mahon commented on the document, saying: “The findings of the SCSI report are no surprise and only strengthens the view, long held by many in rural Ireland, that we are forgotten about in terms of economic growth.

“In a technological era, broadband plays a pivotal role in economic prosperity and is key to the future development of any business.

However, the fact that broadband – along with other strategic infrastructure – continues to be a luxury of urban classes only serves to provide further reason for those in rural Ireland to feel left behind.

Macra na Feirme national president James Healy spoke about the consultation, noting: “Macra na Feirme represents the young people of rural Ireland, and they must be given the opportunity and resources to allow them to bring a vibrancy and dynamism to the future of rural Ireland.

“With this in mind, the consultation will discuss the challenges, but also the opportunities that can be brought about by supporting our rural youth.”

According to Mahon, the committee aims to establish a greater understanding of member views on the issues and opportunities of rural life.

“Rural Ireland can and will thrive again but only if we are given the opportunities and incentives to make it happen,” he added.

Continuous investment will play a major role in that, but the investment must be strategic in order to be effective.

The committee hopes to present its findings early in the new year, according to the organisation.